The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, April 28, 2000, Page 3, Image 3

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BENEFITS from page 1
“domestic partner” has been the cause
of controversy.
The issue of providing health care
benefits has been a sticky issue
because it provides benefits to part
ners of students or employees even if
they aren’t married.
Many groups on campus have lob
bied for domestic partner benefits for
UNL faculty and staff, mainly to ben
efit gay faculty who can’t legally
marry their partners. 1
The new health care plan, howev
er, would provide benefits to UNL
students and their partners regardless
of sexual orientation.
They would only have to show
some sort of financial dependence.
“If we are able to work this out,
we’re going to make it as broad as pos
sible,” Griesen said.
Joel Schafer, ASUN president,
said the plan has followed an interest
ing path. Members of the ASUN
Sexual Orientation Advisory Council,
along with Griesen, Herrman and
Schafer, have met many times to dis
cuss the possibility of providing
domestic partner benefits to students,
Schafer said.
After the Chickering Group
agreed, and Griesen voiced his sup
port, Schafer thought the plan was
good to go.
But Lincoln Regent Charles
Wilson approached Griesen about the
switch of health care providers, and
the plan appeared to be unraveling,
Schafer said.
“I was very concerned,” Schafer
said. “It seemed as if the administra
tion went into a back-peddle. But right
how, it looks like this plan is an all
But Wilson said domestic partner
benefits weren’t the topic of discus
“I had an active dialogue with
Vice Chancellor Griesen about defi
ciencies in the university’s current
health care plan,” he said. “I am
pleased by this new plan.”
Wilson said UNL’s current health
care plan has too low a cap for stu
dents. The current plan UNL is under
provides a $ 1,800 cap for the first two
days of medical coverage, which
Wilson called unacceptable.
“I know of one girl at the universi
ty who broke her hip, and because of
that one clause, she had to pay $5,000
out of her own pocket,” he said.
The new plan covers 80 percent of
all medical costs after the $200
deductible, Herrman said. Its annual
premium is $365, compared with the
$399 that students had to pay this year.
“It’s a better all-around plan,”
Herrman said.
This year, 2,588 students were
covered by the university’s health care
Wilson said he approved of
domestic partner benefits for UNL
students because the university’s
health care services are not funded by
student fees or any other public
If UNL professors were provided
domestic partner benefits, however,
student fees and public tax money
would be used, and Wilson said he has
not formulated an opinion on that
“This plan is a private plan, and I
don’t see a problem with that,” Wilson
said. “But using public dollars is a
much different issue, and one that
must be brought to the regents for
But Schafer said UNL’s new plan
is an important building block toward
domestic partner benefits.
“If domestic partner benefits are
included in the health care package, it
would be a positive precedent for
achieving that same right for our fac
ulty,” Schafer said.
Party lines
blur after
ASUN from page 1
appointed Electoral Commission director,
Conley seems to be following his own advice.
“Joel and I express our thoughts to each
other, and I’ll help out with whatever he directs
me to,” he said.
“Everyone who’s met with Joel walks away
very impressed with his leadership skills.”
Rometo, former first vice presidential can
didate for Empower, was also handed leader
ship reins by Schafer, as she was appointed
Student Impact Team chairwoman.
Following the election, Rometo said she
attended LeaderShape, a leadership develop
ment program held over spring break each year.
The program gave Rometo feedback, direc
tion and encouragement in her leadership skills,
she said.
“After the elections I wasn’t sure what to
do,” she said. “It was definitely what I needed.”
Despite spending countless hours planning,
preparing and campaigning with the blue and
orange of Empower, Rometo said the party ties
are insignificant now.
“I don’t look at the senate and say, ‘She’s
from Empower,’ or ‘He’s with Impact,”’ she
“I just think that we ended up with a great
— - . *T- yw*~
Campus is home for some
during the summer season
By Veronica Daehn
Staff writer
While most residence-hall
students are preparing to move
out of their rooms this week and
next, at least 250 will be getting
ready to stay on campus.
Every summer, some stu
dents opt to live on campus
instead of going home.
Michael Hager, associate
director of housing administra
tion and information systems,
said so far 250 students have
turned in applications for on
campus summer housing.
The priority deadline for
applications was April 14, but
students are not being turned
away, Hager said.
“Summer-school people tend
to wait until later,” Hager said.
“We should be able to accommo
date anyone.”
The maximum number of stu
dents who could live in housing
during the summer is 5,000,
Hager said, but that number is
never close to being reached.
“The demand just isn’t there,”
he said. “It’s rare to exceed two
buildings. Students are our first
Most students who stay in on
campus housing during the sum
mer take classes or serve as con
ference assistants.
But there are special circum
stances when a student who isn’t
taking classes can stay in on-cam
pus housing, Hager said, though
that is rare.
Jenna Venema, a freshman
pre-medicine and communica
tions major, will be staying in
Smith Residence Hall this sum
She will be a conference
assistant and will take classes.
“I’ll be working on campus,
so it’s convenient to live on cam
pus,” Venema said. “I’ll have my
own room, and I won’t have to
cook or clean.”
Venema, who is from
Fremont, said she never planned
on going home for the summer.
“I knew all year that I didn’t
want to go home,” she said. “I
wanted to start working here in
Lincoln. It’s a bigger city, and I’ve
got a good job with great bene
Hager said students taking
classes this summer will be
housed in Cather, Selleck, Fedde
and Husker residence halls, with
most staying in Cather.
Students can move in right
after finals week ends, Hager
said. The halls don’t shut down in
between the academic year and
summer school.
As a conference assistant this
summer, Venema will be helping
with more than 100 conferences
and 15,000 people.
Hager said the summer con
ferences are good for the univer
“That’s a (moneymaker for
us,” he said. “We use that money
to keep room-and-board rates
Freshman English major
Kristine Olson will be living on
campus this summer, but not in
university housing.
Olson said she will be staying
in Chi Phi Fraternity. The frater
nity rents rooms for the summer
on a weekly basis.
Olson lives two hours away in
Leigh and doesn’t want to go
“It’s easier to get a job here,”
she said. “Chi Phi is close, and it’s
cheap. It seems easier to stay
within the university rather than
find an apartment. That would be
a massive pain.”
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